Establish a Chapter
Establishing a chapter at your college or university puts you at the heart of our national network of over 1,500 other chapters representing over 750,000 fellow student veterans.
Are you interested in becoming a part of SVA’s community of chapters? SVA is composed of chapters, meaning that groups of student veterans at one college or university can register to become an SVA Chapter. Establishing a chapter at your school connects you with student veterans across the country and gives you access to tools and resources to better support fellow student veterans on your campus.
Minimum requirements to charter an SVA Chapter include:
- An official governing document or plan to operate your chapter;
- Recognition by your institution as a registered student organization;
- An elected group of student leaders (president, vice president, etc.); and
- A member of your faculty or staff serving as an advisor.
Below is some information to get you started on the path to establishing your own student veteran organization and creating sustainable success. Once you’ve completed these steps you are ready to apply for SVA chapter membership.
Step 1: Connect with the Community
Chapters connect student veterans, administrators, community organizations, and other student groups. Connecting with these stakeholders will help you gauge interest and gain support for your mission. Tap into existing networks on campus to raise awareness of your group of students as well as the entirety of the student veteran experience. Forming a healthy relationship with your school administration is advantageous in the long run.
Step 2: Establish Your Network
SVA requires three points of contact for chapter membership: a student veteran contact, an administration contact, and a chapter email contact. The first two contacts, referred to as the “Chapter Leader” and the “Chapter Advisor,” are important personal connections to the national organization. The third contact is an email specific to your chapter of SVA and may be created through your institution’s email server, or a free email service provider.
Although SVA only requires these three contacts, we recommend organizing a roster or contact list for all of the organization’s members, as well as contacts in your campus and neighborhood communities who have expressed interest in supporting your mission. Creating these channels to facilitate your network will help streamline communications within your student veteran organization.
Also during this phase, the group should be applying for recognition as an official student organization on campus. Every institution is different, so connect with your student life administration or student affairs department for specific details on how to complete this process.
Step 3: Set the Standard
To further streamline your organization’s activities, it is important to create a governing document, such as a constitution or set of bylaws. This is not only a prerequisite to becoming an official SVA chapter, but will also establish the structure within which your SVA Chapter will function. The governing document should include information on the scope of your organization’s mission, as well as details on membership requirements and meeting frequency. Here is an excellent example of Student Veterans of America Chapter bylaws. The content of governing documents will vary by campus but reviewing these bylaws will be useful in drafting your organization’s own unique document.
Step 4: Apply for SVA Membership
Your application will be reviewed by our team and you’ll receive a decision within one to two business days. Upon approval, a welcome email will be sent to all three points of contact with information about your membership. There are no dues or fees association with SVA membership.